Naguib Mahfouz’s Arabian Nights and Days: The Allegorical Sequel of The Arabian Nights

Abdalhadi Nimer Abdalqader Abu Jweid


This article examines the influence of The Arabian Nights on Najib Mahfouz’s Arabian Nights and Days. The Arabian Nights provides an archetypal narrative structure which Mahfouz utilizes in his Arabian Nights and Days. The purpose of this study scrutinizes the reformulation of four narrative elements pertinent to The Arabian Nights, namely, plot, narrator, characters, and setting. These elements exemplify the allegorical depiction of political corruption in the Egyptian society. The study’s narrative scrutiny follows a textual analysis of the cyclical plot as used in The Arabian Nights. The narrator’s name and identity is similar to The Arabian Nights’ traditional narrator, but he will be studied in the light of modern Egyptian citizenship. A close reading of the characters’ dialogic voice will extricate the author’s implicit voice in the novel’s magical real context. This voice critiques the dominating political corruption transpiring in an allegorical setting which resembles the contemporary Egyptian society. The conceptual framework used in this study draws up Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of dialogic novel; whereby the author expresses his/her monologic, or abstract ideology, through the novel’s dialogic voices.


Allegory; Dialogism; Mahfouz; Magical Realism; Monologism; Political Corruption

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